Twelve-year-old describes living with a bagpiper

AJ and the bagpiper

Mid-Hudson News has launched a “Student Journalist” section to allow elementary, middle, and high-school students to write essays or “news as they see it” for submission.  The following is an essay from one of our “Student Journalists”, Andre Thurston Jr.

Living with a bagpiper is great in some ways, and sort of annoying in others, no offense. 

My stepdad Matt started playing the bagpipes in a band with a bunch of other police and firefighters a few years ago. He plays the bagpipes all the time, maybe even too much. When my Mom and him got married the house got a lot louder than before, but I guess I’m starting to enjoy it.

One of the things that stand out the most is his playing ability. He is great. We went around our block two weeks ago to do a mini-parade for our neighborhood to make people happy during the COVID-19 pandemic and he put a lot of smiles on people’s faces. He plays in parades with his band all the time and they are really fun.

What really stands out is the loudness of it. When he plays it outside the neighbors all know where it’s coming from. Can’t they make somewhat quieter ones? They should make smaller bagpipes that can still play the same notes, just a lot quieter. 

One of the funny things is that he plays the loud bagpipes and I play the guitar, which is very loud when plugged into an amp. So if he is playing his bagpipes while I play a very hard rock song, my mom has to sit through it all. 

As if him playing the bagpipes wasn’t enough, he even listens to it in the car! I’m trying to listen to my music through my headphones and all of a sudden, I hear these loud drums and bagpipes coming through the speaker! I have grown to like it though, it’s just so loud.

My stepdad has worked very hard on the bagpipes. Personally, I think he should play in front of big crowds.

That’s how it’s like to live with a bagpiper. Please stay safe and healthy during the pandemic and I hope you have a great day.

Student Journalist Andre “AJ” Thurston, Jr.

About the author:
My name is Andre Thurston, Jr. I am twelve years old, I attend Heritage Middle School, and I live in New Windsor, New York. During my free time which is almost all day now, I like to watch TV, play video games (obviously), and play my guitar. My mom Nina Schutzman works for a domestic violence agency called Grace Smith House and my stepdad Matt Clark is a detective lieutenant at the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department.

If you have a student that is interested in writing a submission, please send an email to Todd Bender at and include a brief bio and picture of the student along with a note from the parent giving us permission to edit and post the story and photograph.

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